The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I’m Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog
By: Jen Lancaster
Publisher: NAL Trade
Published: June 4, 2013
One would think that with Jen Lancaster’s impressive list of bestselling self-improvement memoirs—Bitter Is the New Black; Bright Lights, Big Ass; Such a Pretty Fat; Pretty in Plaid; My Fair Lazy; and Jeneration X—that she would have it all together by now.
One would be wrong.
Jen’s still a little rough around the edges. Suffice it to say, she’s no Martha Stewart. And that is exactly why Jen is going to Martha up and live her life according to the advice of America’s overachieving older sister—the woman who turns lemons into lavender-infused lemonade.
By immersing herself in Martha’s media empire, Jen will embark on a yearlong quest to take herself, her house, her husband (and maybe even her pets) to the next level—from closet organization to craft making, from party planning to kitchen prep.
Maybe Jen can go four days without giving herself food poisoning if she follows Martha’s dictates on proper storage….Maybe she can grow closer to her girlfriends by taking up their boring-ass hobbies like knitting and sewing.…Maybe she can finally rid her workout clothes of meatball stains by using Martha’s laundry tips.… Maybe she can create a more meaningful anniversary celebration than just getting drunk in the pool with her husband….again. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll discover that the key to happiness does, in fact, lie in Martha’s perfectly arranged cupboards and artfully displayed charcuterie platters.
Or maybe not.
I will admit that I’m not a Martha fanatic. However, I must say that home-girl has got her stuff together. She always seems so put together and everything she makes is to fancy. I would love to live in her home. However, I am not as dedicated to a simple, clutter-free lifestyle. Nope, my house is definitely not picture-friendly. Nor do I put on fancy dinner parties for my friends. If anything, I invite them over and whip up something to eat and it’s a serve yourself kind of thing. Martha would probably gasp at how we roll in this house. And you know what? I’m totally okay with that. However, Jen Lancaster is a Martha fan and she does care about changing her lifestyle to emulate that of Martha’s. So, she sets out to do all things Martha for a year. The Tao of Martha is everything that happens during that year span.
I’ve never read any of the author’s previous work so I had no idea what to expect. I’m not normally a fan of memoir type books. They tend to bore the stuffing out of me. I mean, I like to read to get out of reality, not to read about someone else’s day to day life. However, I’m happy to say that Jen Lancaster is pretty entertaining – that is, when she’s not showcasing how wealthy and pampered her life is. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hater or anything but I don’t want to read chapter after chapter how you have maids, ground keepers, caterers for parties, and what have you, and yet you bitch about the little things. However, those weren’t the majority of the story -thank goodness.
Some of the things she does really made me wonder if she really thought it through. For instance, she adopts these kittens but upon bringing them home they turn into little shits, terrorizing the house. So, to assert her dominance and show that she’s Queen Bee, she nips the kitten in the face. Apparently, this some thing that Martha has done to teach her cats who’s boss. Well, I don’t know if you have ever owned a cat but if you do you probably know what happens next. The cat full out attacks her. I mean, here is this frightened brand-new kitten you brought into the family who is surrounded by 3 dogs and cats that it doesn’t know, and you go a bite it in the face. Yeah… it was moments like those that made this book entertaining and there were quite a few of them.
Maybe to someone who is a huge Jen Lancaster or huge Martha fan, you may get a huge kick out of reading this. It had it’s moments where I laughed at it, and cried. I cried because I just started my kitty on chemotherapy and apparently in this book Jen’s going through the same thing with her dog. So to read the fears and issues she’s been through with the chemo process was a little sad for me to read. I even sort of related a little bit to Jen given the fact that she had a fish named Oprah and I currently have an angel fish named Oprah. However, I felt that there were times where she talked too much about how rich they were. She wouldn’t say it directly but just things she did, or said just kind of rubbed me the wrong way. For instance, buying a $15 jar of macaroni mix and throwing it out when it doesn’t taste right and saying, “oh well, it was only $15. Not like it’s a lot of money.” Uh, for some people… it kind of is. I don’t know. Like I said, I found this book to be funny at times but it also rubbed me the wrong way as well. I will say this though, in the end, reading about Jen Lancaster cleaning and organizer her closet and pantry made me go into my own closet and organize it. So at least in the end I got something out of reading this book. 😉
“I would rather receive a Pap smear from Captain Hook than venture out on New Year’s Eve.”